Two great Jamaican women were born in September, Louise Bennett- Coverley on the 7th, and yours truly Davia “Diversia” Ellis on the 21st.
How could I have passed the opportunity to pen a tribute to Miss Lou for her 100th birthday?
When I was living in Colombia and wanted to feel close to home after being wearied by keeping up with local Jamaican news, I sat in front of my camera and recited poems like “Bun and Cheese”.
I was finally expressing my appreciation for the vibrant legacy which Jamaicans and everyone else relive through Miss Lou’s poem- quite therapeutic for me.
Two years later, many things happened in 2019, but I tried to cover enough topics in a short space of time. I had almost forgotten about the project when I received the following email on the second day of the year 2020.
“Dear Davia Ellis,
Congratulations! Your poem, “From Miss Lou 2019 Scene” has been selected by the editorial team to be included in The Miss Lou 100 Voices, which is now scheduled to be released September 2020 on Miss Lou’s 101 birthday.
Although we regret the delay, due to the number of activities held during her 100th celebration, it could not be avoided.
The editor will be in touch with you within the first three months of 2020 if any corrections are necessary.
Have a happy and safe season, and again congratulations on being included in this important anthology dedicated to the Queen Mother of Jamaican culture.”
I didn’t want to be too sure that the email was for me, yet the mail did mention my name. By the time I started to send a brief biography and a high quality headshot, I realized that the emails that I had been receiving could not have been a mistake.
Though I had almost forgotten about writing the poetic piece, I had only needed to exercise some patience amidst the great covid19 pandemic.
Opal Palmer Adisa, Ph.D., the founder and editor of Interviewing the Caribbean seemed to have been doing a good job with the anthology, but I could hardly wait to get an ebook or printed copy.
It was a day before my birthday, before I realized that the last email which I had received contained a table of contents which was sent for me to see the company I share.
Ladies and gentlemen, I must have been feeling very disturbed when reading that the publication of Miss Lou’s anthology will be delayed for her birthday that I did not get to scroll pass the names of Oliver Samuels, Juliet Holness, Fae Ellington, Mutabaruka amongst others before I could see “From Miss Lou: 2019 Scene” by Davia Ellis ( page 61).
So while we had celebrated Miss Lou’s 101 birthday on September 7, 2020 with the Ministry of Culture, Gender , Entertainment and Sports, I can continue to celebrate her life on the day I was given life. I can advocate for the teaching of her work with my one voice.
Trust the creative process.
Celebrate moments of progress